Anti-terror Threat to Librarian Role Now Seen in UK

The U.K.'s The Bookseller reports that "Police forces are requesting information on the library borrowing records of individuals under police surveillance.

The requests are understood to centre on areas with a high Muslim population. John Pateman, head of libraries in Lincolnshire, criticised the development, saying it went against library ethics and could damage community cohesion. “It concerns me. Public libraries are one of the last public spaces where people don’t have to justify themselves,” he said.

Warwickshire head of li­braries Ayub Khan said that librarians “right across the country” had seen instances where the police have asked for library records—“not just books, but also access to records of the internet sites individuals have visited”. Another librarian confirmed direct experience of such a police request.

Librarians’ concerns come after controversy in the US, where surveillance in libraries became a major public issue following the passing of the 2001 US Patriot Act. "

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